Dear Dr. Lisa;
This is a follow-up letter for “Hungry Kitty,” a.k.a., Boots. Thank you for such a quick and insightful response. I spent hours trying to find a good dog food, one with meat as the main ingredient and not much filler, but never thought about the cat food.
Our other cat, a 1-1/2 yr. female, is so finicky that when I finally found something she’d eat, I just stuck with it. I’ve enclosed the labels of the wet and dry foods that both cats eat. As you can see, they do not have much protein or meat and are filled with byproducts. Guess I’ll start scouring the shelves again!
As for the parasite follow-up, no I did not have one done. But I will look into it. Boots has gained some weight and is now about 4.5 lbs! The female is about 7.5 lbs. And she has none of the strange food issues Boots has. In fact, the enclosed labels are all she’ll eat!
Thank you so much again and I look forward to your response!
Still Hungry in Southampton
Dear Still Hungry,
Thanks for sending the food labels it really helps to understand what they are eating. Similar to human food labels the item listed first is the item in highest content in the food. Without mentioning the name of the food the food is labeled tuna and eggs and as you point out there is no tuna or eggs in the food at all!
The first five ingredients read whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, whole wheat, poultry bi product meal, animal digest, and meat and bone meal. Cats should have a high protein food with real meat as the top few ingredients. This food has filler, filler, and more filler as the top few ingredients. Adding to that the top few ingredients are low quality grains, that are difficult to digest, and known allergens in many animals. The next few ingredients, biproduct meal, animal digest, and meat and bone meal are what kick up the protein content in the food.
However, all three are terrible sources of protein. The Association of Animal Food Control Officials define byproduct meal as “Consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.” Animal digest is defined as “Material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed”. Meat and bone meal is defined as “the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.” Animal digest and meat and bone meal are made from mammalian tissue sources and that source does not have to be identified.
I am glad you are looking into upgrading their food. I think you will be impressed with the difference you see in their health over the next few months. Also don’t forget to slowly wean your cats onto the next food as cats don’t take to change easily. You may want to take in a sample of your food and try to find a food that is similar in size, shape, and texture. There is a great store in Rancocas Woods called Spoiled Sweet Pet Shop. They only carry good quality foods and the owner is really into foods and can help you with your cat food education.
Please keep me updated as you change foods and let us know what response you are seeing. Also, definitely get that parasite check done by your regular vet.
Thanks for the question and have a great week!
Lisa Aumiller, DVM